Links and comments, April 9

  • Video of police assault on Ian Tomlinson, who died at the London G20 protest
    The guy was unfortunate enough to have the protest in his way as he made his way home from work selling newspapers at Monument (by the Sun office). The video clearly shows a police stormtrooper clubbing him then thrusting him to the ground, from behind. The Sun office administrator warned us about the protest happening and told us of the risk of harm from protestors; we weren't warned that the greatest risk was actually from the police.
  • Copyright assignment and other barriers to entry
    A fine analysis of the issues around contributor agreements. Organisations that require them are either not interested in collaborating with competing co-developers in their open source communities or have allowed legal conservatism to lead their decision process.
  • GPL's cloudy future
    Great article by Jeremy Allison of Samba fame (now at Google) on why the GPL can't guarantee freedom now cloud computing is back in vogue and why AGPL is the only way to promote software freedom. I note that AGPL is considered not-a-license by Google and barred from their properties - go figure.
  • Tree Wagers
    Sun's Java team wants to contribute improvements to the TreeMap code back to Apache Harmony. Tim Ellison, the project lead, had bet £500 that Sun would never do this.
  • The Most Dangerous Person in the World?
    If you want to be made safe by having the government protect you against the most probable risks, this is the guide for you. Spoiler: The government's anti-privacy policies may well be doing exactly this.
  • Going to work on the Hill
    Pia Waugh gets a job advising an Australian Senator on FOSS. Fantastic news, both for Pia and for Australia.
  • Ten principles for a Black Swan-proof world
    Excellent and very readable article by Taleb suggests that Einstein was right to say that the thinking that got us into this mess isn't going to get us out again.
  • Spam overwhelms e-mail messages
    I am amazed that in the reportage no-one has pointed out that it is the failure of Microsoft's own software that is to blame for the vast majority of the problem - security inadequacy leading to zombie Windows accounts leading to botnets. What's more, the end-of-support of XP means no further improvements will be made to the majority of systems causing the problem. Proves once again that when you are aware of your weaknesses you should play from them and not apologize for them. Unless, of course, you have a soul.
Comments:

While the article you linked on copyright assignment argues that copyright assignments, in general, aren't necessary, it does point out that many of the functions that copyright assignments perform are crucial to some projects.

For example, legal assertion of the origin of the code, and so on.

I personally don't believe that you can be too legally conservative given the litigious nature of our current world.

Posted by Shawn Walker on April 09, 2009 at 08:11 AM PDT #

Shawn: Having documents for contributors to declare originality, ownership and right-to-declare is still a great idea and to be encouraged for all open source communities - as Dave Neary acknowledges. Dave is careful to point out the sleight-of-hand by which people assert correctly that these things as necessary and claim thus to have justified the whole document.

So I agree with both of you...

Posted by Simon Phipps on April 09, 2009 at 12:07 PM PDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.
About

Thoughts and pointers on digital freedoms and technology markets. With a few photos too.

Search

Archives
« July 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
  
       
Today